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What We’re Taught

What We’re Taught

We’re taught how to acquire things, not what to do when we lose them.

Read the above statement out loud and let it sink in a moment.

Have you lived on cloud 9, where nothing could possibly go wrong, and all was right with the world – until one day it wasn’t?

We are conditioned to learn how to acquire things: knowledge, experience, careers, material possessions, wealth, dates, etc.. However, where in our educational system and life experience are we taught what to do when we lose those things?

You know the answer to that question as well as I do.

Now that you realize this as a simple truth, you can’t un-know it.

So – as this applies to you in your life, what are you going to do about it?

Continue striving to acquire more things (refer back to my previous post titled Bury and Replace) or work through the muck to find the reason why enough is never enough?

Explore why you feel you’re not enough for yourself and for others. Examine why your persistence to acquire more knowledge is never enough (none of it matters anyway unless you do something with it). Consider why it takes losing it all to make us wake up to what’s really important.

Grief is funny like that. It’s the unsuspecting culprit of ongoing suffering in our lives. There is a reason why a good number of lottery winners end up worse off than before they won the lottery. The money is like a band-aid on old wounds, only the band-aids bleed through – eventually. What do you think happens after the lottery winnings are all gone and the person ends up bankrupt? Add that grief on to all the others that came before it.

Society doesn’t consider all the ways adults and children alike grieve. It’s a mistake to believe children don’t grieve when their parents divorce. It’s a mistake to believe children/adults/elderly don’t grieve when their beloved pet dies. It’s also a mistake to believe people who are homeless don’t also grieve.

Consider all these ways people grieve and my oh my are we a sad population – busy being busy, striving to bury and replace, and masking it all with “I’m fine.”

So, what do we do about it?

We confront and process our grief so we can recover from it. It’s never too early and never too late. We become examples for our children in healthy ways to communicate, express, and process grief. And the majority of us don’t know how to do that. But every day that passes is a decision to tolerate grief taking the wheel in our lives.

My suggestion is to find someone who has walked the path of recovery to guide you. Seek out support groups for parents of grieving children. Seek out reading materials to help you process your grief. Keeping in mind, although getting together with others grieving can be helpful in the short-term, rarely, does this singular approach yield long-term results and recovery.

The first step above all else, my friend, is choosing. And every day you continue to bury and replace, you’re making a choice. As a result, your future happiness is paying the price.

Bury and Replace

Bury and Replace

Bury and Replace: this is what we do when we grieve. We bury our feelings to protect those of others, to avoid our own, and make attempts to replace the loss (usually) not in the best of ways.

Why You Bury Your Grief

While grieving, you’ve probably been told not to feel so bad; things could be worse and look at the bright side, etc.. Although others may have good intentions, this is only more damaging to an already broken heart. So, rather than feeling as though you can openly share your grief, you instead bury it. You pretend – for the sake of others. And on top of it, you then apologize for your sorrow and for getting emotional – often at the most inconvenient times like in the dairy section of the grocery store.

As time goes on, after burying it and stuffing it down, you decide it’s becoming too much, and you look to replace it. Or, maybe you’re quick to choose to replace what you’ve lost in the hopes that the sadness you can’t openly share, can be replaced with joy (that which society approves is shared). However, since you’ve been working hard to bury your grief, what you begin to experience is a temporary joy.

From personal experience, I can tell you that, in our human conditioned way, we avoid pain at all costs. And, there is no other situation where that is more prevalent than when it comes to unresolved grief. We replace grief with people and vices because it’s the joy-for-a-moment we’re chasing in the moment. When, in actuality, it’s short-term joy we get in exchange.

We sell out our future happiness because we fail to see that the baggage we picked up in grief, will follow us into every future relationship and experience that comes into our lives.

A Couple Suggestions

You can’t expect that every person in your life will be able to sit with you in your grief. Do yourself a favor and don’t hold on to that false hope. Instead, look to one or two people who you know will be a listening ear, without the need to do anything about it. If you don’t have that person in your life, I encourage you to seek support elsewhere – perhaps others who’ve shared a similar experience.

Before you look to bury and replace your grief, ask yourself the following: Have I fully resolved my grief? Am I replacing to avoidwhy

P.S. Did you like this post or know someone who could benefit from reading? I invite you to share it. Likewise, I share little nudges like this in my weekly newsletter, The Unleashed Letters, that you won’t read anywhere else. Or, if you’re wanting to move forward in life, regardless if you’ve experienced grief, I offer a FREE exercise you can do to figure out your Core Needs & Essential Values. Knowing these eight words will be the litmus test for every decision you need to make moving forward.

How do I move past my grief?

How do I move past my grief?

The storm of grief may be brief, but mourning goes on for months and seasons. We mourn what was, what is, and what will never again be the same .

Are you navigating a grief storm right now?

When people think of grief or mourning, they often think there has to be the loss of a loved one.

I, on the other hand, believe we mourn and grieve in all sorts of ways throughout our lives.

We mourn a torn relationship with a child or parent, a life we feel we were cheated of experiencing, and personally, I’ve mourned a rekindled relationship that came about when it was too late and terminal illness took that person away. Similarly, we may mourn trust we felt was unbreakable, only for it to fall apart and shake our very foundation of trust in others forever.

Are you mourning a loss like these?

No matter what we are mourning, after some time we begin to ask ourselves if the mourning will ever end. It’s difficult to wrap our minds around the fact that what was will never be again. And the first step in healing is, I believe, acceptance.

Once we accept what is, only then can we start to process, in our minds, a different future. Even then, acceptance of a different state of being may bring rise to another wave of mourning.

Grief is cyclic; manifesting itself as problems in various areas of our lives and continually, will show up until it is addressed. And in my experience, you don’t stay in one stage, then move on to the next like it’s some sort of corporate ladder. Rather, you move through grief as you walk through life – repeating over and over and over with each problem that comes up; even more so, I believe, the younger you are when you experience grief because, as a child, it’s more difficult to process these things (especially without guidance, support, or better yet – therapy).

So, how do you move past grief?

You don’t. Instead, you accept that it will be with you forever – like a scar that never leaves. But, there is hope that you can learn to live with it and this can only happen with focused time, self-compassion, healthy boundaries, and intentional action to protect and nurture your mindset. The way you loosen grief’s grip is by understanding that when the waves of mourning wash over you all over again, you remind yourself that you’re a grief survivor.

And then you act like it (and take action against it) – over and over and over again.

A Healing Launch

A Healing Launch

At an average rate of 80 times a minute, the (complex and complicated) heart beats about 115,000 times in one day or 42 million times in a year. During an average lifetime, the human heart will beat more than 3 billion times — pumping an amount of blood that equals about 1 million barrels. Amazing, right?

Regardless of our feelings of joy or sadness, experiences with grief or accomplishment – our hearts miraculously do what they’re designed to do. Every intricate part of it, masterfully created by God, that it should be one of the seven wonders of the world – next to the brain, right?

In the midst of sadness, our emotions are all over the place, and our hearts are feeling all kinds of messy and…complicated. Is it any wonder that relationships can become complex and complicated, too?

The Two Sides of – It’s Complicated

There are times we will be on the receiving end of it’s complicated and times we’ll be on the giving end of it, too. I’ve experienced both and neither feel good. You likely have as well because you’re human.

This experience doesn’t feel good because we invest ourselves, don’t we? In a promise, in words – that etch into our hearts and take hold. We invest our complex, feeling hearts in someone else and, in doing so, we place our vulnerable, complicated hearts on the line. And such as life, we may retreat ourselves, or that investment is taken from us. And, when we’re on the giving end of it’s complicated (as I’ve also been), it’s fear that rears its head.

We are so afraid to let people in – to get close and cozy; afraid to see where things might lead. We’re fearful of sharing parts of ourselves never before seen and of expectations (of others and our own) and meeting them. We protect ourselves from vulnerability. And isn’t that somewhat written in our DNA – to defend ourselves?

The Hardened Heart

Our adult human hearts have some mighty walls to break. But they didn’t get that way overnight, and we weren’t born with hardened hearts either. A young child doesn’t discriminate in their love for others. They merely share their heart as God intended. Beautiful, isn’t it? How ruined and hardened by life we can become, right?

So, the next time you are on the cusp of being on the giving end of it’s complicated – remember, there’s a complex heart on the other end, and honesty is the best policy. Honesty isn’t easy because it’s filled with vulnerability and takes courage. But I’d take an ounce of honesty over an ounce of gold any day.

Likewise, the next time you’re on the receiving end (truth – there will always be a next time), know there are millions of others sitting in the same boat. Reflect on a time when you’ve been on the giving end of it’s complicated, and empathize. Accept that we’re all just doing the best we can and don’t take it to heart. It hurts, but it doesn’t have to harden your heart.

Making Peace & Welcoming Growth

Make peace with it’s complicated. It’s a part of adulting and we’re rarely taught, in childhood, the coping skills necessary to handle such things.

Maybe the takeaway is, as a parent, teaching honesty is teaching coping skills. Because when two complicated hearts are honest (which is vulnerable and courageous), barriers are broken, a sense of appreciation grows, and forgiveness finds a way.

There is one caveat to honesty, however. When you give honesty and expect it in return, you must be open to receiving it. And truth be told, there are golden nuggets of growth to be found when honesty can flow through your complex and complicated heart.

Deep Dive into Grief

Deep Dive into Grief

At an average rate of 80 times a minute, the (complex and complicated) heart beats about 115,000 times in one day or 42 million times in a year. During an average lifetime, the human heart will beat more than 3 billion times — pumping an amount of blood that equals about 1 million barrels. Amazing, right?

Regardless of our feelings of joy or sadness, experiences with grief or accomplishment – our hearts miraculously do what they’re designed to do. Every intricate part of it, masterfully created by God, that it should be one of the seven wonders of the world – next to the brain, right?

In the midst of sadness, our emotions are all over the place, and our hearts are feeling all kinds of messy and…complicated. Is it any wonder that relationships can become complex and complicated, too?

The Two Sides of – It’s Complicated

There are times we will be on the receiving end of it’s complicated and times we’ll be on the giving end of it, too. I’ve experienced both and neither feel good. You likely have as well because you’re human.

This experience doesn’t feel good because we invest ourselves, don’t we? In a promise, in words – that etch into our hearts and take hold. We invest our complex, feeling hearts in someone else and, in doing so, we place our vulnerable, complicated hearts on the line. And such as life, we may retreat ourselves, or that investment is taken from us. And, when we’re on the giving end of it’s complicated (as I’ve also been), it’s fear that rears its head.

We are so afraid to let people in – to get close and cozy; afraid to see where things might lead. We’re fearful of sharing parts of ourselves never before seen and of expectations (of others and our own) and meeting them. We protect ourselves from vulnerability. And isn’t that somewhat written in our DNA – to defend ourselves?

The Hardened Heart

Our adult human hearts have some mighty walls to break. But they didn’t get that way overnight, and we weren’t born with hardened hearts either. A young child doesn’t discriminate in their love for others. They merely share their heart as God intended. Beautiful, isn’t it? How ruined and hardened by life we can become, right?

So, the next time you are on the cusp of being on the giving end of it’s complicated – remember, there’s a complex heart on the other end, and honesty is the best policy. Honesty isn’t easy because it’s filled with vulnerability and takes courage. But I’d take an ounce of honesty over an ounce of gold any day.

Likewise, the next time you’re on the receiving end (truth – there will always be a next time), know there are millions of others sitting in the same boat. Reflect on a time when you’ve been on the giving end of it’s complicated, and empathize. Accept that we’re all just doing the best we can and don’t take it to heart. It hurts, but it doesn’t have to harden your heart.

Making Peace & Welcoming Growth

Make peace with it’s complicated. It’s a part of adulting and we’re rarely taught, in childhood, the coping skills necessary to handle such things.

Maybe the takeaway is, as a parent, teaching honesty is teaching coping skills. Because when two complicated hearts are honest (which is vulnerable and courageous), barriers are broken, a sense of appreciation grows, and forgiveness finds a way.

There is one caveat to honesty, however. When you give honesty and expect it in return, you must be open to receiving it. And truth be told, there are golden nuggets of growth to be found when honesty can flow through your complex and complicated heart.

What to Say & Not Say to Those Grieving

What to Say & Not Say to Those Grieving

At an average rate of 80 times a minute, the (complex and complicated) heart beats about 115,000 times in one day or 42 million times in a year. During an average lifetime, the human heart will beat more than 3 billion times — pumping an amount of blood that equals about 1 million barrels. Amazing, right?

Regardless of our feelings of joy or sadness, experiences with grief or accomplishment – our hearts miraculously do what they’re designed to do. Every intricate part of it, masterfully created by God, that it should be one of the seven wonders of the world – next to the brain, right?

In the midst of sadness, our emotions are all over the place, and our hearts are feeling all kinds of messy and…complicated. Is it any wonder that relationships can become complex and complicated, too?

The Two Sides of – It’s Complicated

There are times we will be on the receiving end of it’s complicated and times we’ll be on the giving end of it, too. I’ve experienced both and neither feel good. You likely have as well because you’re human.

This experience doesn’t feel good because we invest ourselves, don’t we? In a promise, in words – that etch into our hearts and take hold. We invest our complex, feeling hearts in someone else and, in doing so, we place our vulnerable, complicated hearts on the line. And such as life, we may retreat ourselves, or that investment is taken from us. And, when we’re on the giving end of it’s complicated (as I’ve also been), it’s fear that rears its head.

We are so afraid to let people in – to get close and cozy; afraid to see where things might lead. We’re fearful of sharing parts of ourselves never before seen and of expectations (of others and our own) and meeting them. We protect ourselves from vulnerability. And isn’t that somewhat written in our DNA – to defend ourselves?

The Hardened Heart

Our adult human hearts have some mighty walls to break. But they didn’t get that way overnight, and we weren’t born with hardened hearts either. A young child doesn’t discriminate in their love for others. They merely share their heart as God intended. Beautiful, isn’t it? How ruined and hardened by life we can become, right?

So, the next time you are on the cusp of being on the giving end of it’s complicated – remember, there’s a complex heart on the other end, and honesty is the best policy. Honesty isn’t easy because it’s filled with vulnerability and takes courage. But I’d take an ounce of honesty over an ounce of gold any day.

Likewise, the next time you’re on the receiving end (truth – there will always be a next time), know there are millions of others sitting in the same boat. Reflect on a time when you’ve been on the giving end of it’s complicated, and empathize. Accept that we’re all just doing the best we can and don’t take it to heart. It hurts, but it doesn’t have to harden your heart.

Making Peace & Welcoming Growth

Make peace with it’s complicated. It’s a part of adulting and we’re rarely taught, in childhood, the coping skills necessary to handle such things.

Maybe the takeaway is, as a parent, teaching honesty is teaching coping skills. Because when two complicated hearts are honest (which is vulnerable and courageous), barriers are broken, a sense of appreciation grows, and forgiveness finds a way.

There is one caveat to honesty, however. When you give honesty and expect it in return, you must be open to receiving it. And truth be told, there are golden nuggets of growth to be found when honesty can flow through your complex and complicated heart.